YOUNGSTERS Daniel Barnes (Garden Shed UK-SCOTT-Verge Sport) and Xan Crees (Team Empella Cyclo-Cross.Com) put on masterful displays of riding in the mud to take the men’s and women’s victories at the fourth round of the Lazer Shimano West Midlands Cyclo-Cross League.
Junior rider Barnes, who has two National Trophy podiums to his name already this season, improved on his second place in round two to win by over three minutes at the Heart of England Conference and Events Centre in Coventry.
Soft ground conditions meant that, like the previous week, a gruelling race in muddy conditions greeted riders.
The event, organised by Solihull CC, created a course which included a mixture of muddy banks and a wooded section which tested the abilities of riders.
Barnes, from Lichfield, led the senior men’s race away from the starting line and never looked back as he increased his margin lap on lap.
As last week Anthony Neave (Stourbridge CC) led the charge for second overall and first senior rider finishing nearly a minute clear of the chasing pack.
He was initially chased by fellow Stourbridge rider Tom Payton before last week’s winner Gary Price (Morvelo Basso) came through to take third.
“I went hard from the start and led from the first corner,” said Barnes.
“The gap behind me was quite big but I kept on pushing and tried to finish big on the last lap. Some of the sections were really hard due to the thick mud and some of the running was quite hard.
“I liked the course and preferred the muddy conditions.”
Barnes is targeted success in the future National Trophy rounds and is hopeful of Great Britain selection later in the winter.
Philip Glaze (Fishface Cycles RT) continued his winning form in the veteran 40-49 age category taking top spot for the second week running.
Glaze mastered the muddy conditions and finished almost a minute ahead of his nearest rival and seventh overall in the seniors.
Colin Miller (Ride Coventry) led the chase behind for second while Jason McNulty (Royal Leamington Spa) completed the podium positions in third.
Crees, who finished third in the second round of the series, also left her rivals in her tracks to clinch the women’s race by over two minutes.
Behind the lone leader last week’s battle between Ceris Syler and Karren Summers resumed, but this time the outcome was different.
On this occasion Style gapped last week’s winner to take second while Summers finished third.
“I loved the race, the mud is my favourite conditions and it was great fun,” said Crees.
“The race went pretty well except the start-line which was a bit like a cartoon as my legs were moving but it felt like I wasn’t going anywhere due to the mud.
“On the first corner I got the lead and didn’t see anybody after that. The gravel section down the back and up the hill helped break it up but most of the way around was quite muddy.
“In some sections around the far side of the course you could ride but it was quicker to run.”
After winning in last week’s muddy conditions Darren Atkins (Zannata Ride Coventry XGear) repeated the feat in Coventry in the veteran 50-59 age category.
Atkins used his speed early in the race to gap rival Stephen Knight (Team Jewson- MI Racing) and build up a sizeable advantage before increasing it every lap to win by over a minute and a half.
Knight finished second while Leon Field (CC Giro) led the chase behind to finish third.
In the veteran’s 60+ category Peter Turner (Derby Mercury) was another convincing winner finishing a minute ahead of Kirby Bennett (Team Jewson MI Racing) in second while Chris Wreghitt (Second Wind) took third.
Max Greensill (KTM UK Factory MTB Team) showed his strength once again to ride to a clear victory in the under-16 boys’ event.
Ben Askey (RST/Cycle Division Racing Team) had to settle for second on this occasion while Harry Cockroft (Malvern Cycle Sport) was left chasing behind in third.
Rotor Race Team duo Spencer Corder and Lewis Tinsley continued their domination of the under-14 age category.
Corder consistently put time into his team-mate to take another victory while Tinsley finished second while Max Bufton (Hafren CC) finished third.
After her opening round win Daphne Jones (Mid Shropshire Wheelers) took top spot again in the under-16 girls’ category.
Under-14 rider Hannah Cockroft (Malvern Cycle Sport) led the charge behind to finish second overall and first in her category.
Ellie Swingell (Halesowen A&CC) was second under-16 girl while Daphne Jones (Mid Shropshire Whls) was third in her age category.
Mari Porton (Redditch Road & Path) was third overall and second under-14 girl.